1. What you should know about muscle memory to help you stay fit:
When you hear the term “muscle memory,” it conjures up images of your muscles being able to memorize certain movements, such as dribbling a soccer ball or playing “Happy Birthday” on the piano. But while muscle memory is real, that’s not what is actually going on in your body.
What’s more, science says there are two different kinds of muscle memory. One type, neurological, is tied to the recall of learned activity, while the other form, physiological, is related to the regrowth of actual muscle tissue.
Understanding how both kinds of muscle memory work can help you get off to a strong start if you’re establishing a new fitness routine or rebooting one after a break.
The neurological form of muscle memory is probably the type most of us associate with the term, as it has to do with the phenomenon in which it appears our muscles are “remembering” specific movements. Even if you haven’t ridden a bicycle in several years, for example, you can probably hop on one and pedal with ease. Ditto with plunking out a song on the piano that you may have memorized as a kid.
But the reason you can ride that bike or play the piano is not because the muscles in your legs or fingers memorized the necessary movements.
More...from CNN Health.
2.10 Years of Heart Rate Training: My Experience:
This is part one of a five-part series on heart rate training, written by Floris Gierman, co-founder of run apparel brand PATH Projects, host of the Extramilest podcast, and running coach. Over the last 11 years, he’s devoted his life to heart rate training and building a community of running through the MAF approach to running. Through the course of his training, he’s lowered his marathon time from over 4 hours to 2:44 and attributes his success to his focus on heart rate training and a holistic approach to his training, racing and life.
An Introduction To Heart Rate Training
Let’s talk about heart rate training, a helpful approach to endurance training that has been gaining mainstream attention in recent years.
Some of this stuff may all seem pretty obvious, but let’s start with the basics before moving on to the bigger stuff.
Your heart rate (i.e. the number of times your heart beats in a minute), is an important indicator of how hard your body is working during physical activity. Your heart rate reflects the amount of oxygen delivered to your muscles and the effort level needed to maintain a given level of activity.
More...from Believe in the Run.
3. What Women Should Know About Adaptogens:
How to use these powerful botanicals to feel and perform your best.
From coffee to green powders to capsules, teas, and tinctures, adaptogens are ubiquitous in the wellness world right now, with promises of strengthening immunity, increasing mental focus, boosting energy, reducing stress, and more.
While I’m a big fan of adaptogens and they can indeed provide all those benefits, it’s important to know what you’re getting and why you’re using it. There are numerous types of adaptogens, each with its own unique mechanism of action. Some are stimulating while others are calming. Some act as hormone precursors. Others increase immune system activity. And they’re not all safe for everybody. Women, as they are more likely to have thyroid disease than men, need to be especially aware of potential contraindications when they start using adaptogens.
What Is an Adaptogen?
Adaptogens are a class of medicinal or therapeutic plants that increase your body’s resistance to stress. They do so by targeting your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a neuroendocrine system that controls your reaction to stress and regulates various body functions, such as digestion, mood, temperature control, and immunity.
More...from Dr. Stacy Sims.
4. How to Run Hills Without Hurting Your Knees, According to the Doctors Who Fix Them:
Physical therapists offer their wisdom on the best ways to approach hill training to both protect your knees and emerge a stronger runner.
Running up that hill can be a challenge. It takes a combination of stamina, perseverance and physical and mental strength to take the climb. But hill workouts are crucial for a runner, especially if you’re training for a race with elevation changes throughout. Hills can even make you a stronger, faster athlete on flat roads as your legs become powerful enough to push you upwards.
Before you pound the uphills, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid injury—especially in your knees.
Why Do My Knees Feel Sore After Hill Training?
Hills can be hard on your body because they require a change in running form as you drive your legs uphill, then downhill. The downhill is actually what may cause a negative effect on your knees. “Running downhill requires eccentric control, or muscle lengthening, from your quads, the big muscle that controls knee extension,” explains physical therapist Dr. Lisbeth Hoyt of Custom Performance. “Eccentric muscle contractions can be more challenging during a run, which is why we are more sore from hilly runs sometimes.”
More...from Women's Running.
5. Training Advice from the Greatest Women Masters Marathoners Alive:
While Jeannie Rice and Jenny Hitchings are busy setting masters world records, their differences in training are even more instructive than their similarities.
The spring marathon season has come and gone, and it didn’t disappoint, producing sensational races and world headlines. This was particularly true in Boston and London. However, you might have heard little or nothing about two of the best marathon performances in those events.
The big media coverage went to seemingly-unbeatable Eliud Kipchoge, who finished sixth at Boston, where Evans Chebet gained his third straight World Marathon Major victory in 12 months. At the London Marathon, Kelvin Kiptum ran 59:45 for the second half, en route to a course record 2:01:27, and Sifan Hassan demonstrated that she can win in the marathon as she has at multiple shorter distances.
But 75-year-old Jeannie Rice and 59-year-old Jenny Hitchings outran them all, on an Age-Gender performance basis, both setting new world records for their age groups. Rice’s 3:33:15 in Boston won’t count, since the Boston course is considered ineligible due to its significant downhill slope and point to point layout, which allows for a tailwind boost. Still, she beat the fastest 75-79 age-group male runner by more than 20 minutes, which has likely never happened before in a global marathon. And five weeks before Boston, at age 74, she ran 3:31:22 in the Tokyo Marathon.
More...from Outside Online.
6. Everything you need to know about treating achilles tendinopathy:
Charted physiotherapist Matt Bergin on the key causes of achilles tendinopathy (formerly termed 'achilles tendonitis'), the common symptoms to look out for and, most importantly, how to beat it
Achilles tendon injuries are one of the most common issues we see in the clinic. The achilles is exposed to huge loads when running – roughly 5.2x our bodyweight. But tendons are incredibly sensitive to load, and especially sudden changes in load, whether that be a rapid increase in running volume or certain biomechanics that repeatedly overload one specific area.
What makes our lives difficult is that tendons need to be exposed to load in order to strengthen them, and for them to adapt and become more robust, however too much, too quickly, and we risk overload. Managing this exposure to load can be difficult, and there is no one size fits all, but if you get the balance right, treatment outcomes can be really positive.
More...from Runner's World UK.
7. Is This the Best Recovery Device for Runners Yet?
Firefly's neuromuscular electrical stimulation device has all the hype. We tested it for a month.
Despite exercising regularly, I often feel like a fitness poser because I’m terrible at running. Any attempt to do so growing up turned into me trying to convince my parents I had sports asthma, when I simply didn’t know how to control my breath.
It wasn’t until my 30s that I ran a full mile without giving up and walking part of the way, and only after much judgment from a fit friend who I vulnerably admitted this to while masquerading in activewear. Ultimately, the only way I could make it through a full mile without hyperventilating was by trotting at an excruciatingly slow pace, clocking just under a 12-minute mile. I’m so bad at running that I dusted off my Facebook login and password to join a slow runners community group. Anything to feel better about my exercising imposter syndrome.
And yet every spring, I think “this is the year I’m going to run an 11-minute mile” is a very attainable goal for someone who hasn’t been in a battle with the activity for most of their lives. Then my body responds with “no you’re not” and I scream in soreness for days after trying. Research shows that running slows down even more with age, so eventually I enlisted help from elsewhere, hoping that a device like Firefly Recovery might buy me some time.
8. "I think that's the wrong mindset" - Ingebrigtsen's training approach gives GAA coaches food for thought:
Jakob Ingebrigtsen is the best long distance runner on the planet.
The Norwegian wonder-kid is just 22 years of age but he's already an Olympic champion, a World Champion, a multiple European champion as well as a two-time World record holder.
Ingebrigtsen specialises in the 1500m, but he has won major championships over 5000m on the track and over longer distances in cross-country too.
But it was last week, after setting the World Record for two miles on the track when, in an interview with former Irish runner David McCarthy, the distance running supremo made a very interesting point about training and preparation.
There is a school of thought out there - not just in athletics but in GAA too - that the harder you train, the better you will compete. And while Ingebrigtsen acknowledges the importance of the winter slog, he says that the biggest mistake many athletes make is that they try and train as fast as they race.
He says that he never trains as fast he races and says that the reason some athletes do is out of a lack of self-belief.
9. The Legal Foundation of Women’s Sports Is Under Fire:
What is the legal foundation for women’s sports? It’s a simple question with a surprisingly complex answer. After all, the most potent federal statute supporting parallel men’s and women’s sports leagues would appear — on its face — to also prohibit separate leagues. Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
The act contains explicit exceptions — such as permitting fraternities and sororities and beauty pageants and protecting the liberty of religious educational institutions — but its language tracks that of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI prohibits race discrimination in federally funded educational programs using virtually identical language, declaring, “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
More...from the New York Times.
10. Unlocking a novel determinant of athletic performance: The role of the gut microbiota, short-chain fatty acids, and “biotics” in exercise:
The gut microbiota refers to the collection of trillions of intestinal microorganisms that modulate central aspects of health and disease through influential effects on host physiology. Recently, a connection has been made between the gut microbiota and exercise. Initial investigations demonstrated the beneficial effects of exercise on the gut microbiota, with cross-sectional studies revealing positive correlations between exercise-associated states, and healthy gut microbiota and exercise interventions showed post-intervention increases in the abundance of beneficial bacterial taxa. More recent investigations have focused on exploring the reverse relationship: the influence of the gut microbiota on exercise performance. Murine investigations have revealed that certain bacterial taxa may enhance endurance exercise performance by augmenting various aspects of lactate metabolism. Further, short-chain fatty acids—which modulate metabolism at various organ sites, including within skeletal muscle—have been shown to enhance endurance exercise capacity in mice. This review highlights what is currently known about the connection between the gut microbiota and exercise, with a particular focus on the ergogenic potential of the gut microbiota and how it may be leveraged to enhance endurance exercise performance.
From... Journal of Sport and Health Science.
11. Why Are Runners Suddenly So Fast?
Records are falling and times are dropping. Is it the shoes, or something else?
Consider the Paris Diamond League meet in early June. Jakob Ingebrigtsen smashed the two-mile world best by more than four seconds, becoming just the second man to run back-to-back sub-four-minute miles. Then Faith Kipyegon notched her second world record in a row, outsprinting the reigning record-holder over 5,000 meters just a week after becoming the first woman under 3:50 in the 1,500 meters. Then, to cap the night, Lamecha Girma took down the steeplechase record.
It was a great night—but it was just one of many great nights that track fans have been treated to recently. A week later, at the historic Bislett Games in Oslo, eight men broke 3:30 for 1,500 meters in one race, setting a new record—including Yared Nuguse, who set a new U.S. best. Meet records fell in almost every event. At the collegiate level, an analysis by Oregon-based coach Peter Thompson shows that the number of middle- and long-distance runners hitting elite benchmark times has doubled, tripled, or in some events even quadrupled in the last two years. Earlier in June, four high-school boys broke four minutes for the mile in a single race, matching the total number of people who’d done it in history prior to 2011.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
12. Fueling the Tour de France: Inside a grand tour rider’s gut-buster diet:
We speak to WorldTour chefs and nutritionists to reveal the mega-carb menus that power the race for the yellow jersey.
What does it take to fuel three weeks of racing the Tour de France?
Mountains of rice, fistfuls of energy gels, and plates pitifully short of vegetables, that’s what it takes.
The 21 stages of this year’s Tour de France could see riders like Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard pedal through up 80,000 calories-worth of work.
When they’re not pedaling or sleeping, riders are probably eating – and it’s most likely to be carbohydrates on their plate.
Carbs are the endurance kings of macronutrients, with basic staples like rice, pasta, potatoes, and bread the jewels in their crown.
They’re the energy-giving fuels that power bunch sprints and drive mountaintop victories.
And in the modern pro peloton, rice is increasingly becoming the carbohydrate of choice.
“Riders eat a lot of rice … like, kilos of it. It’s sort of boring, but it works,” Trek-Segafredo chef Bram Lippens told Velo. “We add sauces like tomato or pesto to keep it interesting, but it is essentially still just rice!”
13. 5 Strength Training Myths for Trail Runners (and the Truth Behind Them):
Bulking up? Only lifting heavy? Avoiding soreness? How is your strength routine (0r lack thereof) holding your trail running back.
While strength training has gained popularity and respect in the trail running community, many gaps still exist that prevent trail runners from picking up the weights or leave us wondering how to incorporate this element into our training.
If you’ve been resisting strength training for any reason or are curious about its benefits, you’ll be picking up the weights after reading this article that debunks common myths about strength training for runners.
Myth 1: Lifting weights will put on too much muscle.
While you don’t have to deadlift 300 pounds to have success on the trails, we benefit from having muscles to power our legs up and down mountains, over rocks or other obstacles, and around sharp turns. The truth is, it’s tough to put on much muscle mass as trail runners when we’re spending 10 percent or less of our time on strength and the large majority on running. Any extra muscle gained from lifting, particularly in the off-season will likely benefit you as you transition into that next half marathon, 50k, or 100-mile race.
14. Study finds mice make better distance runners on time-restricted diet:
A study led by the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Center for Circadian Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease, Southwest Hospital, Army Medical University, China, looked into how meal timing regulates exercise capacity in mice and the relationship to their circadian clock.
In a paper titled, "Daytime-restricted feeding enhances running endurance without prior exercise in mice," and published in Nature Metabolism, the researchers investigated the effects of day/sleep time-restricted feeding on running endurance in sedentary and exercise wheel trained mice.
Researchers measured exercise capacity in mice subjected to different feeding regimens and found that day/sleep time-restricted DRF significantly enhanced running time and distance compared to ad libitum (AL—free to eat whenever hungry) feeding or normal chow (NRF) at specific time points during the day. This effect was observed in both female and male mice and persisted even in exercise-trained mice.
15. Here’s How Running Hills Make You Faster, According to Science:
Sure, flat ground feels easier. But you aren't helping your running. Here's more proof that you should be doing hill repeats.
While hill running has been a staple on the workout rotation for runners for decades, there actually hasn’t been much academic research on the training practice until relatively recently. A slew of new research over the last few years, however, has proven that, yes, hills really are worth the burn.
Improvements in VO2 Max, Heart Rate, and Race Performance
In a 2017 study published in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, a team of Ethiopian researchers investigated the effect of hill training on the performance and physiological fitness markers of competitive club-level middle and long distance runners who competed between 800m and 10,000m.
In the study, 32 athletes were divided randomly into a control group and experimental group. The control group was only given endurance training, while the experimental group was trained on both endurance and two sessions of hill workouts per week for 12 weeks. The subjects were evaluated as being similar in all fitness aspects being measured (VO2 max scores, resting heart rate, speed endurance, and race times) prior to the experiment. At week 6 and 12, the group that was trained on hills showed significant improvement in their VO2 max, resting heart rate, and speed endurance, while the control group did not.
“A general strength orientated hill training program is an appropriate and efficient method for improving both strength and speed endurance ability in distance runners,” wrote the authors. “To enhance the performance of middle and long distance events athletes, the coaches have to include hill training workouts in their training plan.” The study also found that the improvements in speed endurance were attained without increasing injury risk.
More...from Woen's Running.